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Nine N.C. Airports Receive Funds for Safety, Development Projects

FAYETTEVILLE – In its May meeting, the N.C. Board of Transportation approved state and federal grants for projects to bolster the economy and improve safety at nine North Carolina airports. 

Nearly $13.6 million in state and federal funding has been granted for projects that will help these airports grow, such as new hangar sites and updated safety lighting.

About $4.1 million of that funding will go to Statesville Regional Airport to construct a new aircraft parking apron and car parking lot, from a specific NCDOT Division of Aviation fund for economic development projects. A tenant at that airport that flies NASCAR teams and their families to races across the country has grown twice as fast as expected, and this project is the first step to moving them to a new facility that will meet their current and future needs. 

“This will also open up new land for future tenants who may be looking to locate at our airport, and help us keep pace with growth in the region,” said John Ferguson, Statesville Regional Airport’s manager. “This will keep good, well-paid jobs here in Statesville and help attract more opportunities in the future.”

The projects the N.C. Board of Transportation approved are:

  • $291,600 to install a new Precision Approach Path Indicator light system at Anson County Airport,
  • $70,862 for costs associated with land acquisition at Cape Fear Regional Jetport in Southport,
  • $1,593,000 in additional funding for apron rehabilitation at Charlotte-Monroe Executive Airport,
  • $1,075,570 for the development of a site for T-hangars to store small, private aircraft at Duplin County Airport,
  • $560,000 in additional economic development funds towards site development for a fixed-based operator and maintenance facility at Johnston Regional Airport,
  • $270,000 for the design of a partial parallel taxiway for Runway 23 at Lumberton Regional Airport,
  • $306,000 in additional funding to remove underground fuel tanks and install a new above-ground system at Rockingham County Airport,
  • $3,500,000 in funding from the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program to construct a taxiway and hangars at Rocky Mount-Wilson Regional Airport,
  • $4,112,600 in economic development funding for a new apron and aircraft parking area, and $1,800,000 to install lights on the new eastside parallel taxiway and put in a new lighting vault for future expansion at Statesville Regional Airport.

North Carolina airports serve as a vital economic engine connecting people and business enterprises with the world, and are among the primary economic drivers in their communities. Airports and aviation-related industries contribute more than $52 billion to North Carolina’s economy each year, according to the 2019 State of Aviation report. They support 307,000 jobs, generate more than $2.2 billion in state and local tax revenue and provide more than $12.6 billion in personal income. 

The funds awarded do not necessarily represent the total cost of the project. 

New Airport Terminal Draws Professionals For Training

The new Mac Campbell Sr. Terminal Building at the Elizabethtown Airport (Curtis Brown Field) has been in use since the ribbon cutting in early March 2019. Today the facility hosted the North Carolina Airport Association Regional Meeting, according to Town of Elizabethtown Manger, Eddie Madden. 

“I want to recognize and thank Eddie Madden. Thank you for continuing to help our airport grow and our town to grow,” said Mayor Campbell during the ribbon cutting. 

Madden is continuing his work to grow the airport and the town. Over 50 airport professionals from across the state were in attendance at the meeting. 

The large group took part in training and heard an update from the NC Division of Aviation staff on the progress of North Carolina airports.

North Carolina’s public airports annually contribute $52 billion to the state’s economy, supporting 307,000 jobs that generate $12.6 billion in personal income and $2.2 billion in state and local tax revenues according to NC Department of Transportation’s website. 

The site continues to report, “North Carolina boasts the nation’s second fastest-growing aerospace manufacturing sector, with strong aerospace maintenance and military aviation enterprises, 14 commercial airline operators and 26 air freight companies. North Carolina is at the forefront of innovations catalyzing the growth of an unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones) economy.”Share:

Surprise Guest Makes Big Impact At Airport Meeting

On Tuesday, April 23, the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority got a surprise visit from a very important guest – U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, who clearly delighted the board members and airport staff with his unannounced visit.

Tillis arrived suddenly with his aide, came strolling into the conference room, and went straight to the head of the room – something that halted the Airport Authority right in the middle of a vote on a motion. Normally, if someone created that kind of distraction, security would be called; however, since Tillis is a U.S. senator who’s helped the airport out with many causes, he was able to interrupt the meeting with no worries.

Among other things, Tillis played a big role in helping the airport get funding for the new taxiway bridge that makes the airport’s new aviation mega site possible.  Piedmont Triad International Airport Executive Director Kevin Baker, who introduced Tillis even though the Senator clearly needed no introduction, spoke on how valuable Tillis had been to the airport.

“One of the running jokes is, anytime that I come into his office now, he’ll look me in the eye and say, ‘You got your damn bridge – what do you want now?’”

The Senator said he was recently with people who served on the governing authority for Dulles International Airport and Washington National Airport.

“I told them how proud I was of the work that you all do,” Tillis said.

Sen. Tillis

He spoke briefly on ways the board could use him as a resource and he also spoke on matters and procedures now in motion in Washington.  He said his goal was always to let the Airport Authority control the direction of the airport rather than politicians.

“Y’all have got a great reputation as a board and you’ve got a great story to tell as an airport,” Tillis said, “which is why it only took what – I don’t know – maybe 15 minutes to say I’d help you with the bridge. That’s because it made sense.”

He added that it is already becoming clear how important the bridge to the mega site is going to be to economic development in the area.

Tillis, who previously served as the Speaker of the House in the NC General Assembly, said he was glad to help the airport out at the state level as well.

“I still have a couple of friends down at the legislature, so if you ever get to a point where you’re in a dustup with them, I’m happy to be an unpaid lobbyist for the ones who aren’t crazy.”

Airport Authority Chairman Steve Showfety, who was attending the meeting by phone, had words of praise for the efforts of Tillis over the years.

“Mr. Senator, your allegiance, support and endorsement are invaluable to us and the success that we’re on the threshold of bringing to Piedmont North Carolina,” the chairman said. “Thank you very much.”

Tillis got a round of applause as he left the room.

Decorated NASA Astronaut Curtis Brown Jr. Cuts Ribbon At New Airport Terminal

The mood was light and there was a feeling of excitement in the air as residents, elected officials, and members of the Elizabethtown Airport Economic Development Board all gathered for the ribbon cutting for the newly constructed airport terminal building.

The keynote speaker for the event was retired US Air Force Colonel and retired astronaut, Curtis L. Brown Jr. He also cut the ribbon to officially declare the new terminal open for business.

Brown is a native of Bladen County. He was joined by his wife, Mary, his son Greg, and his sister Rebecca Baldwin.

“I’m very proud to be from Elizabethtown,” said Brown. “I’m very honored to be here today. I’m very honored to have my name on it (the Curtis L. Brown Jr. Field).”

Brown recalled growing up in Elizabethtown and learning to fly at the airfield that now bears his name.

He recounted that one day, in teenaged years, he was on his way to work at the former Western Auto Store that was run by his father when he saw a couple of airplanes on the side of the road at the airstrip. At the time the airport didn’t have any hangars.  Brown said he stopped and spoke to the men there and they told him they were going to give flying lessons.

Brown said he drove to town and told his father he was going to take flying lessons. He said he soloed in a Cessna 150.

“My life changed forever,” said Brown.

He said he also would help with the lessons by flying the planes to Lumberton to fuel up because at that time, there was no fueling station at the Elizabethtown air strip.

Brown went on to have a successful career in the US Air Force attaining the rank of Colonel before retiring. He also flew on six space shuttle missions, including one mission where he was joined by former astronaut and US Senator John Glenn.

Now, there are hangars, 26 aircraft are stationed at the airport, and there is fueling station as well as the newly constructed terminal building.

The terminal building was named in honor of Mac Campbell Sr. The Campbell family gathered outside the building beside a sign that now carries the name Mac Campbell Sr. Terminal Building. David Clark gave remarks about Campbell’s love for aviation and his dedication to the town of Elizabethtown.

Clark recounted first meeting Campbell when he was a young child. He said the first time he had met Mac Campbell Sr. was 80 years ago. He recounted that a child had been bitten by a dog and was having to take the rabies series of shots. At that time, the shots were very painful and had to be administered in the abdomen.

“Every day that guy had to have a shot. Mac Campbell Sr came to our room and he said something to the class and took that little boy and put him at ease and took the child for his shot and took him home,” said Clark. “That impressed me.”

Clark recounted how Campbell came to Elizabethtown and opened a gas station and a grill. Campbell’s business was doing well until he had a higher calling. Campbell was the very first man in North Carolina to be selected for the newly formed selective service. Clark said after serving in the war, Campbell came home and started Campbell Oil Company which continues to operate today.

Campbell was also very active in civic work and tried to make the town and county better.

He was also avidly involved in aviation. Campbell was one of very first individuals in Bladen County to have an airplane, according to Clark. Campbell had a small landing strip just north of NC 87 that started in the vicinity of what is today the Knights Inn motel and ended near Scout Lane.

Clark said the plane had a 40 horsepower engine and no wheel brakes and wheel at the tail. “He flew it and he flew it a lot,” said Clark.

Campbell is also credited with giving many individuals their first airplane ride and introducing others the love of aviation.

“He left quite a legacy that is still growing today. The hangars and aircraft here today are the results of the work of the second and third generation,” said Clark.

He also noted that former Elizabethtown Mayor Bill Keith was greatly influenced by Mac Campbell Sr. and his love of aviation.

Mayor Sylvia Campbell welcomed the guests and thanked those who have worked to make the new terminal building a reality. She acknowledged the Airport Economic Development Board and Town Manager Eddie Madden.

“I want to recognize and thank Eddie Madden. Thank you for continuing to help our airport grow and our town to grow,” said Mayor Campbell.

Others recognized included Assistant Town Manager Pat DeVane who served as project manager, the town board members, the interior designer Rob McNeil and other elected and government officials.  The building was constructed by Graka Builders of Whiteville for $1.4 million.

“We do appreciate the quality of what you have constructed for us,” said Fred Tate, the chairman of the Airport and Economic Development Board. “It is debt free. By receiving grant funds, we were able to do this without any increase in tax funds.”

Tate also briefly discussed the impact the airport has on the town and county. He said the airport generates $15 million in revenues and $211,000 in tax revenues. Tate also mentioned the service the airport provides to corporations.

Others recognized during the event were donors for furniture. They included, Mary Greene the conference room/boardroom is named the Ben W Green Conference Room. The family of David and Giles Clark have donated for the Pilots Lounge.



By Erin Smith, with BladenOnline.com

Elizabethtown prepares to debut new terminal building

Work on the new airport terminal building has been completed and the town staff are now putting the finishing touches on the building. The town is now gearing up for a grand opening celebration.

Elizabethtown Town Manager Eddie Madden said, “A ribbon cutting is planned for Friday, March 1.”

Mayor Sylvia Campbell sent out a public notice invitation about the ceremony. The ribbon cutting will take place at 11 a.m. on March 1st in front of the new terminal building. The building was constructed on the site of the old terminal building. The new building measures 4,495 square feet and was built on the site of the old terminal. The new building features a lobby, office space, a conference room, a pilot’s lounge, classroom space, restroom facilities, kitchen space, shower facilities, and storage space.

Construction was slowed slightly by Hurricane Florence but the building did not suffer any damage from the storm. All work in the terminal building are expected to be completed in time for the ribbon cutting on Friday, March 1.

Madden said the terminal project was funded with a $1.2 million grant from the North Carolina Division of Aviation.

The old terminal building was sold and moved off the property. The former terminal building was constructed in 1988 and dedicated to the memory of former Elizabethtown Mayor William “Bill” Keith in 1990.

Written by: Erin Smith, BladenOnline.com

Report: Airports Contribute $52 Billion, 307,000 Jobs to N.C. Economy

RALEIGH – North Carolina’s publicly owned airports contribute more than $52 billion to the state’s economy and support 307,000 jobs, according to a report released by the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation.

The report, North Carolina: The State of Aviation, highlights the economic impacts of the state’s public airports and the related aviation and aerospace assets that support North Carolina’s aviation economy. NCDOT created the report to help guide future investment in aviation infrastructure and to act as a tool for recruiting future aviation and aerospace industry.

Airports and aviation-related jobs also provide $12.6 billion in personal income and contribute $2.2 billion in state and local tax revenues every year.

“Our network of 72 public airports, and the aviation and aerospace assets that rely on them, help move our economy forward by creating jobs, supporting business growth and connecting people and companies to markets around the globe,” said Bobby Walston, director of NCDOT’s Division of Aviation.

North Carolina’s public airport system boasts 10 commercial service and 62 general aviation airports that connect local businesses and communities to global markets, house and refuel private aircraft, support military and agricultural aviation and statewide emergency response, and provide aviation services such as aerial photography and pilot training. The commercial service airports also offer regularly scheduled passenger service.

All airports generate significant economic return for their communities and the state. For instance, North Carolina’s public airports lease space to more than 3,300 private aircraft that generate more than $19 million in tax revenues for their communities each year. The owner of a $1.5 million aircraft based at a North Carolina airport pays local property taxes equivalent to those paid by owners of 10 homes valued at $150,000 each.

The report contains data compiled and analyzed for NCDOT by North Carolina State University’s Institute for Transportation Research and Education. Impacts are calculated based on factors such as jobs supported by the airports and the businesses that rely on them, business and leisure travelers, and airport capital projects and operations.

View the full report, including the breakdown of each individual airport’s contributions, atncdot.gov/aviation.

New facility coming in 2019

Plaque at airport

Work is almost complete on the new terminal building located at the Elizabethtown Airport. Big plans for the future of the airport and terminal building are in the works.

Elizabethtown Town Manager Eddie Madden said the contractor is performing touch-up work and completing a “punch list.”

Lobby

Madden said while work on the project was slowed by Hurricane Florence, it did not receive any damage during the storm. Madden said the town is anticipating the project will be completed and ready for a grand opening by February 2019.

Elizabethtown Airport Terminal Future is Bright

By Erin Smith, BladenOnline.com

Work is almost complete on the new terminal building located at the Elizabethtown Airport. Big plans for the future of the airport and terminal building are in the works.

Elizabethtown Town Manager Eddie Madden said the contractor is performing touch-up work and completing a “punch list.”

Madden said while work on the project was slowed by Hurricane Florence, it did not receive any damage during the storm. Madden said the town is anticipating the project will be completed and ready for a grand opening by February 2019.

He shared some exciting news about the future use of the terminal building.

“Our plan is to establish a civil air patrol squadron here. It will be a composite squadron that would give youth in the community the opportunity to learn more about aviation,” said Madden.

He stated the civil air patrol unit, if established, will need space for orientation, mapping and other flight training related activities.

“So far, the Fayetteville and Wilmington Squadrons have said they will help us get one established here. It would open the door for not only more use of the airport for the community but also open the doors for some of our youth to maybe take on a career in aviation,” said Madden.

The newly constructed terminal building offers a civil air patrol squadron plenty of space in which to learn and train. The new building measures 4,495 square feet and was built on the site of the old terminal. The new building features a lobby, office space, a conference room, a pilot’s lounge, classroom space, restroom facilities, kitchen space, shower facilities, and storage space.

The terminal project was funded with a $1.2 million grant from the North Carolina Division of Aviation.

The old terminal building was sold and moved off the property. The former terminal building was constructed in 1988 and dedicated to the memory of former Elizabethtown Mayor William “Bill” Keith in 1990.

State Transportation Board Funds Improvements at 24 N.C. Airports

RALEIGH – The N.C. Board of Transportation has approved state and federal funds for much-needed improvements to 27 North Carolina airports.

The $24.7 million in funding, approved by the board during its July meeting, will be used to provide improvements such as better runway lighting, new fuel tanks and safer taxiways.

For example, some of the funding is going to Anson County Airport- Jeff Cloud Field to help build a fence that will eventually enclose the entire airfield.  Located just miles from Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge, the airport is always at risk from runway incursions by animals.

“Just like when you’re driving on the highway, deer and other wildlife present a danger to aircraft that are landing or taking off,” Said Chris Joffsen, who helps manage the airport for Anson County. “Once complete, operations here will become much safer and pilots won’t have to worry as much about encountering something on the runway.”

North Carolina airports serve as a vital economic engine connecting people and business enterprises with the world. They are among the primary economic drivers in their local communities.

The projects the N.C. Board of Transportation approved include:

*$903,240 to install phase II of perimeter fencing at Anson County Airport – Jeff Cloud Field.
*$390,600 to update the airport layout plan at Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport.
*$526,000 to rehabilitate pavement at the aircraft apron in the Fixed Base Operation area at Clinton-Sampson County Airport.
*$426,600 to rehabilitate pavement on the north apron and $323,100 to update the airport layout plan at Currituck County Regional Airport.
*$155,000 to acquire land to clear obstructions from the runway approach, $306,000 to install security fencing around the terminal area and $321,300 to update the airport layout plan at Columbus County Municipal Airport.
*$585,000 to rehabilitate apron pavement to match the current strength of the runway and taxiways and $361,800 to update the airport layout plan at Dare County Regional Airport.
*$180,000 to update the airport layout plan at Duplin County Airport.
*$513,333 to construct a new hangar access road and $438,435 to reconstruct hangar taxilane pavement at Foothills Regional Airport (Morganton).
*$225,000 to update the airport layout plan at Halifax-Northampton Regional Airport.
*$2,484,000 for rehabilitation of the runway pavement at Henderson-Oxford Airport.
*$1,269,176 to prepare the site for a future Fixed based Operation and maintenance facility, and $325,800 to update the airport layout plan at Johnston County Airport
*$315,000 to obstructions to the Runway 23 approach and $531,236 to rehabilitate the general aviation apron pavement at Kinston Regional Jetport-Stallings Field.
*$610,000 to include Taxiway G in an active rehabilitation of Taxiway F at Laurinburg-Maxton Airport.
*$486,000 to replace outdate glideslope instruments at Mid-Carolina Regional Airport (Salisbury).
*$1,344,600 to rehabilitate taxiway pavement and $672,916 to complete environmental mitigation at Mount Airy Surry County Airport.
*$209,000 for design of a full parallel taxiway at Mount Olive Municipal Airport.
*$288,000 to update the airport layout plan at Northeastern Regional Airport (Edenton).
*$513,000 to remove Runway 6 obstructions at Person County Airport.
*$296,100 to complete purchasing of land within the Runway Protection Zones at Shelby-Cleveland County Regional Airport.
*$1,440,000 to rehabilitate the runway and taxiway lighting at Stanly County Airport.
*$675,000 to replace the existing runway electronic approach localizer and glideslope guidance system at Statesville Regional Airport.
*$1,521,000 to rehabilitate airfield lighting at Triangle North Executive Airport (Louisburg).
*$2,828,700 to rehabilitate the taxiway and runway, and design and rehabilitate the aircraft apron pavement at Warren field (Washington).
*$326,785 to reimburse for land purchased and $2,922,750 for future construction of four new hangars and construction of a new apron and taxiway at Wayne Executive Jetport.

Airports and aviation-related industries contribute more than $31 billion to North Carolina’s economy each year, according to a 2016 report. There are 123,400 airport-related jobs in the state. The NCDOT Division of Aviation is responsible for airport and aviation system planning and development, and provides funding to local communities for constructing and improving airports throughout the state.

The funds awarded do not in all cases represent the total cost of the project.